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Bethesda’s Pete Hines speaks out on the rigors of optimizing The Elder Scrolls Online for cross-platform play

TES Online

In a recent interview, Bethesda Softworks vice-president Pete Hines has revealed some of the challenges that the studio is facing to optimize their highly anticipated fantasy MMORPG The Elder Scrolls Online for a cross-platform release.

While Hines was in favor of the development process for both Sony’s PS4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One console–as the consoles are structured quite similar to PC architecture, which affords for expedient and efficient development–however he revealed that Bethesda still has a lot of work to do in order to ready The Elder Scrolls Online for all three platforms.

Hines had the following to say about adapting the game for next-gen consoles, touching upon the reasoning as to why its been easier on the studio:

“It’s really not easy, but it’s certainly much easier,” Hines disclosed in the interview. 

“I’m not trying to insult Sony or Microsoft, but they’re high-end PCs, the way they’re architectured. Though they’re still in development, they’re not done, they’re much easier to develop for.”

While it is certainly easier, Hines reveals that things often go awry and that working on all three platforms at the same time can prove to be frustrating:

 “They don’t all play with each other. PC and Mac play together, but Xbox One is its own thing and PS4 is its own thing. The whole cross-platform thing is just a nightmare.”


Developing titles for multiple platforms has always proved to be challenging, The Elder Scrolls Online is even more so due to the fact that each platform (PC, Xbox One and PS4) has its own separate servers to optimize and streamline online play.

Hines also spoke out how Bethesda feels about developing for Microsoft’s Xbox One console:

“Are we looking forward to developing on Xbox One? Yes. It’s a nice robust machine that allows to do lots of cool stuff and put more cool things in the game.” 

Bethesda’s VP continued with how the studio is continually learning new things about both next-gen systems and how it will affect development down the road, with implications like major changes or minor tweaks when the games are released:

“Much like Xbox 360, all the work that you do just helps more when you go to do it again. When you look at Skyrim and you go back and look at Oblivion, and look at all the content and what we’re putting on the screen, it’s a bit night and day.

“It probably doesn’t seem that different, but if you actually go back and look, we accomplished so much more. So the further forward we go, the better and better it’s going to be.”

Khenarthi's Roost

As the interview was conducted by OXM, Hines wasn’t prompted to comment about how development was going with Sony’s PS4–but it would be interesting to hear his stance on that console as well, considering Sony’s recent overhaul with both architecture and dedication to making things easier for developers.

While Bethesda may have its work cut out for them, they certainly have quite a bit of time to prepare with a launch in “Spring 2014”, and The Elder Scrolls Online Beta will be issued out on both next-gen consoles when they launch later this year.

If you’re curious as to how Bethesda’s revolutionary fantasy MMO fares against the plethora of other titles in the genre, be sure to head on over to our official E3 hands-on impressions with TESO that’s filled with details like game mechanics, skill trees, and more.

The Elder Scrolls Online is slated to release in Spring 2014 for Xbox One, PS4 and PC. For more information please visit the game’s official website.


Derek Strickland
Derek is an avid fan of gaming and everything geeky, and is compelled to make his mark in the field of games journalism. When he's not gaming on a console (everything from SNES to X360) you can find him reading about ancient civilizations or enjoying a fantasy epic or two.

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